Solution: Huge images usually main culprit in slowing page load times

You probably already know that Google’s  raking algorithms now reward web pages that load quickly.  This is even more important for your site when it is viewed on a mobile device.  Studies have shown that a visitor’s willingness to wait for a page to load is less than if they were using a desktop or laptop. And this makes sense; these days, even just 5 seconds seems like an eternity when surfing the web!  This according to Google:

Images often account for most of the downloaded bytes on a page. As a result, optimizing images can often yield some of the largest byte savings and performance improvements: the fewer bytes the browser has to download, the less competition there is for the client’s bandwidth and the faster the browser can download and render content on the screen. (If you want to totally geek out, read this.)

When we take on a new SEO client, one of the first steps we take is to test the load- time of the client’s homepage using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.  The tool almost always indicates that images on the site are “heavy” or much larger in terms of either kilobytes or resolution than what is needed.

SEO Image OptimizationA great tool that you can make use of on your WordPress site (I use it on this site in fact!) is a plug-in called ShortPixel Image Optimizer.  (Search for it under ‘Add New’ in the Plugins section of your WordPress control panel.)

In addition to the plug-in there are other ShortPixel Image Optimizer  tools available which you can see here. There is also an online imager compressor which can be found here. The online image compressor can be used to compress images that have to be manually uploaded into your media library or for non-Wordpress websites.

Here are some compression stats for this website:

  • Average compression of files: 76%
  • Disk space saved by ShortPixel:  48.96 MB
  • Bandwidth saved by ShortPixel:  478.13 GB (since installation of plug-in)

Those are impressive numbers.  The process is intuitive, works quickly and, unless you have a huge number of photos, is free.  It plays nice with Cloudflare too. Oh, and one more awesome feature: if you’re a photographer you can instruct ShortPixel to not strip EXIF data from your images!  To learn more about ShortPixel, click here for their website.

And don’t forget to get your free website SEO audit by completing the form in the left column or here. It checks 58 critical search ranking factors and provides a checklist of things you can do now to help improve your rank in the search engines.  Plus, no annoying salesperson will call, I promise!

Image by Marcin Wichary, use permitted under Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Recent Posts